From: Secret Underground Lair
Having played quite a bit now, I think I have a couple issues that _really_ should be altered in a patch. If it is already noted cool.
1) Britain is _WAAYY_ too timid with her fleet, and way too adventurous with her armies on the continent.
In my game it is now Jan 1797 as France, started 1792. I have progressively been building up my naval assets; not building ships, mostly just fighting weaker nations and gaining experience. I had one fleet that had four or five Admiral promoted 1st raters, as well as a bunch of Deadeye+Extra Guns promoted 3rd raters.
I've been in a couple wars with Britain, and won smashing defensive victories in northeast France, but no naval battles. I had however, pretty much trashed the navies of Spain, Portugal, and Russia.
Starting in about 1794 or 95, another war with pretty much everyone ensued, including Britain. I kept all my boats in the Med, blockading Gibraltar and GB kept all her boats in south England. She never sortied to attack my powerful fleet blockading Gibraltar, nor did she blockade any of my French ports.
Having won a war against Austria early on, then against Spain, then got lapses of peace from Sweden, and Russia, by 1796 it was just between me Prussia and GB. I had suffered no defeats on the battlefield as of mid 1796, but had beaten both the Prussian and GB armies more than once. I had all my diplomats in GB Pressuring Peace for peace, but despite this and the pretty severe losses I'd imposed on GB, she did not surrender, nor did she make any effective use of her fleets (which were numerous).
Finally, in about Aug or Sept 1796 I had moved my three main fleets and small fleet I'd captured up to Brittany. I set my powerful fleet (Bouvets) to attack + intercept and all the others (Cornics, Marseiiles Flt, 3rd Fleet, Latouce) to avoid combat and not intercept. I moved out Bouvets into Celtic Sea, then all the others except 3rd, I loaded a large amy with two corps (~140K) into French 3rd Fleet and set it to amphibiously assault Devon.
The depot I had preemptively set in Celtic was eaten up by a GB merchant or privateer, but otherwise everything worked fine. I had conquered Devon by no later than Oct 1796, and actually sent the lionshare of that large army back to France. Still not a peep from the multitude of GB fleets lurking in Hampshire/Anglia. A few months later, Dec 1796, I sent my large army back to England. Next turn (or it might have been Dec, not sure, but I do have the .sves) I sent the army to invade Hampshire, while I sent two fleets to blockade London and the port in Hampshire.
Result: Hampshire conquered, and every single fleet in the GB navy captured without firing a shot. This I think is a second but related point that should perhaps be looked at again and changed.
In order for GBs navy to protect the island they have to be out of port, but by the time I had one beefed up fleet and several wins against other nations navies, I never saw a SINGLE action by GB navy other than hiding in port. Consequently, instead of losing a few ships or perhaps even a fleet or two to me in naval combat, but perhaps blunting my navy, the ENTIRE British navy is now under French control.
2) Capturing fleets is _WAAYY_ too easy. I can only guess how the algorithms for this are calculated, but I would suggest they be revisited. I would think that, AT BEST, one should only be able to capture half to perhaps 2/3rd of an enemy fleet, and those should be pretty badly banged up. It has been a routine practice throughout history for Captains to scuttle their ships rather than let them fall into enemy hands. Not to mention, there should be some chance that a fleet that is boxed in will raise anchor and at least TRY to fight back against the blockading force and not simply wait passively in port while land forces swarm on board. Capturing fleets should be possible, but not so easy. Some ports (London for example being up a river) would be easier to blockade than others, but presumably the Guns built in a city would deter blockading ships from staying too close the mouth of a bottleneck that could be effective for boxing in a superior force?
3) It is my custom to keep 1 to 4 Frigates in each fleet. Several times in the last few turns I've had fleets of 25 or 30 ships forced to retreat by a SINGLE merchant! That just has to be changed